alanis: Clouds and shadows on Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 24th May 2012.
Between 28 and 36°S, 284°E, on the arc of highlands that surround the southeast Solis Planum. The crater split between the 2nd and 3rd images is Voeykov, about 75 km across, named for climatologist and geographer Alexander Ivanovich Voeykov (1842-1916). The small, deep crater toward bottom left of the 4th image is Los, named for a village of about 400 people in Gävleborg County, Sweden.
Composite of 3 visible light images for colour, and 5 monochrome images for animation. Colour is not balanced naturalistically, and the slightly psychedelic colours of the clouds are a result of mismatches between the images where the clouds have moved between exposures.
In collaboration with NIH 3D Print and the EyeWire lab at MIT, I’ve made a 3D printed neuron! This particular neuron is a ganglion cell, which brings visual information from the retina to the brain. Its shape was revealed by gamers playing EyeWire, which uses crowdsourcing to create 3D models from serial electron microscope images. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up to play EyeWire here. If you want to try printing this cell, the model is available at the NIH 3D print database.
These photos were taken by my friend Kristen Kanes, who is doing some absolutely fantastic research on orcas, also known as killer whales. Her objective is to determine if individual whales have unique voices that could enable them to identify each other. Consider that orcas have complex social structures, unique dialects, the second largest brain of any marine mammal, and a brain area involved in emotional cognition that is greatly elaborated compared to all other mammals. They may be one of the most sentient species on Earth, along with dolphins, elephants, chimps, bonobos, and humans. Being able to identify orcas based on sound alone would allow less invasive data collection, and in the long run might help us decipher the meanings of their vocalizations. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out Kristen’s website, Orcatalk.
When we speak of Nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe.
Explanation: These clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula, NGC 7023 is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers, though. Still, this deep telescopic view shows off the Iris Nebula’s range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the dusty clouds glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star’s invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The pretty blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years.
You are immortal; you’ve existed for billions of years in different manifestations, because you are Life, and Life cannot die. You are in the trees, the butterflies, the fish, the air, the moon, the sun. Wherever you go, you are there, waiting for yourself.
The Cassini spacecraft looks down on the north pole of Saturn. The scene is serene only from a distance—raging storms are clearly visible in the atmosphere. In this image you can even make out Saturn’s hexagonal storm. The hexagonal vortex is about 20,000 miles (30,000 km) across and is a jet stream made up of 200 mph winds (322 km/h) surrounding a huge storm, Scientists have not found another weather feature exactly like this anywhere in the solar system.
(Credit: NASA / JPL / SSI / processed by Bill Dunford)
The Saturn system reveals tantalizing vistas. NASA’s robotic spacecraft named Cassini carries with it 12 instruments designed to take precise measurements of Saturn and its surroundings, including Titan, other icy moons, and the rings, as well as the magnetic environment.
For many of us, however, the images are what put us there, at Saturn, almost a billion miles away from home. Some of those images unveil overwhelming beauty. Others show tricks of light and seemingly magical oddities. Some reveal events from the distant past that have been preserved for eons, while other views depict processes that are changing now, like live news.